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New Poll Reveals Michigan Voters’ Overwhelming Opposition to Captive Boar Hunting

By more than 8-to-1 margin, Michiganders support DNR order to end feral swine hunts, don’t want legislature to overturn it

A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. has revealed that Michigan voters strongly oppose captive boar trophy-hunting in their state. Captive hunting ranches are private facilities where trophy seekers pay a fee to shoot animals in fenced enclosures.

The poll follows action by the Michigan Legislature to overturn an order issued by the Department of Natural Resources to prohibit individuals from the possession, stocking, breeding or importing of wild pigs, including on captive ranches. Michigan officials estimate there are potentially 3,000 to 5,000 wild hogs roaming the state – most likely the result of escapes from captive hunting facilities – posing a serious threat to Michigan’s natural resources and agricultural economy. Thirty seven states have currently declared feral swine an invasive species.

By a more than 8-to-1 margin, Michigan voters overwhelmingly support the DNR’s order to ban possession of wild hogs, and oppose the legislature intervening and overturning it in order to allow captive hunting facilities to possess these non-native species. The survey results were consistent in every political demographic, with all political affiliations strongly in support of the DNR’s ban on possession of wild hogs. 

“By allowing captive boar hunting to continue, the Michigan Legislature is turning its back on sound science,” said Jill Fritz, the Humane Society of the United States’ Michigan state director. “Michigan voters know that these animals pose a serious disease threat to livestock and native wildlife populations. The DNR’s order on feral swine should be allowed to stand.”

The survey of 625 Michigan voters was conducted statewide from July 13 through July 14, 2011. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent. The questions and results are below.

QUESTION: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued an order declaring feral pigs an invasive species as they threaten Michigan's environment and agricultural economy.  Feral pigs damage forests, farmlands and crops.  Feral pigs can also spread disease to native wildlife and farm livestock. 

The DNR order prohibits anyone, including canned hunt operators, from importing, releasing or stocking feral pigs.  Do you support or oppose the DNR’s order?

                        STATE   MEN   WOMEN   DEMS   REPS   INDS

SUPPORT         82%      77%     86%           82%        80%       83%

OPPOSE          10%      16%       5%            12%        12%        8%

UNDECIDED     8%     7%        9%             6%          8%        9%

QUESTION:  The canned hunt operators are asking the governor and legislature to overturn the agency’s order that would ban feral pigs.  The operators say that their facilities are secure and pose no threat.  Others say that overturning the agency order on feral pigs puts politics ahead of science and the health of the environment and agricultural economy.  Would you support or oppose the legislature overturning the DNR order?

                        STATE   MEN   WOMEN   DEMS   REPS   INDS

SUPPORT          9%       12%      7%             7%         11%      10%

OPPOSE          80%        78%      81%           85%       76%      77%

UNDECIDED   11%      10%      12%           8%         13%      13%


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.